OUTSIDERS Season 2 Premiere Review

WGN America’s OUTSIDERS is back this week! The drama about the Farrell clan who live up on a mountain, apart from society, and those in the town below, including a businesswoman (Francie Swift) who wants the resources the Farrells are sitting on, begins its second season. The action picks up right where the freshman year left off, and I dare say, there are a few surprises in the first hour alone.

The premiere picks up on the mountain, where the police have come to confront the clansmen and women. It’s chaos and battle and everything you want, which I don’t feel like it’s much of a spoiler to say. What is interesting is that immediate aftermath of the fight, the scene we see right after it, and the result of it, which does change the course of season two. How far it shifts direction, that remains to be seen, though it seems like quality and style will be maintained.

Up on the mountain, G’Winveer (Gillian Alexy) is having trouble settling into her role as Brennan. This isn’t surprising if you remember the way she got the chief position, by poisoning Big Foster (David Morse) and then getting Asa (Joe Anderson) to shoot him. That Big Foster is a bad man in his own right, having murdered the previous Brennan, his own mother, is not known by any other characters, and so doesn’t help G’Win’s soul rest easy.

I like that OUTSIDERS has kept the murder a secret. Often on television shows, there’s a piece of information that only certain characters are privy to, and then it inevitably comes out at a dramatic moment. Since Big Foster was the only one in the room when he committed the act, while others may have suspicions about him, there is no way for anything to ‘come to light’ short of Big Foster confessing. That’s an interesting scenario, the Farrells having neither video cameras nor forensic science, and it sets the series apart.

G’Win, who is mainly a character to root for, did some nasty things in season one. While I like that she is a bit haunted by them, because it makes her more sympathetic, I also applaud OUTSIDERS for not totally excusing her actions. The Farrells may be willing to fall in line behind her, for the most part, but she is not a black-and-white hero, which makes her more fascinating.

By the same token, Sherriff Wade Houghton (Thomas M. Wright), who should be in the right, is not a likeable person. It’s not necessarily any specific action Wade takes that makes my opinion of him go down (though he does do something pretty cowardly in the premiere that doesn’t help). Yet, while he is a non-corrupt cop, viewers won’t necessarily want him to win, which is a cool element that most television shows don’t have.

The closest thing OUTSIDERS has to a truly good person is Li’l Foster (Ryan Hurst), and I can’t help but admire that man. As naïve as he can be at times, and while he has fallen for tricks and lies, he is still someone who seems noble. Part of the warm feelings toward him are not dissimilar from wanting to protect a little brother, yet I can’t help but hope he will come to be great in his own right, and I hope he doesn’t lose himself along the way. Who he is now is terrific, and he’s easily my favorite character.

I won’t spoil anything, but I will say there is a not wholly unexpected, but still very exciting, development in the Sally-Ann (Christina Jackson) / Hasil (Kyle Gallner) relationship. The premiere also ends with a shocking thing happening to one of our main players that I kind of hope sticks, not because I want ill to befall this particular person, but just because I find it interesting and a neat story twist.

Get ready for OUTSIDERS, which returns Tuesday, January 24th at 9/8c.